Monday, November 29, 2010

Random Book Reviews

So I work in a library.
So sometimes I pick up books.

Here are two of those. On the same topic, i.e. the propensity of people to believe in fake stuff.

Here they are:

Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction : Where Real Science Ends...and Pseudoscience Begins

Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology
Both books pretty much cover the same ground, including a brief look at what science is as well as some examples of very nonscientific stuff (i.e. aliens) as well as instances when science worked really well at decipher the truth (the Cardiff giant) as well as when it took a bit longer for scientists to catch on (the Piltdown man) -- although catch on they did -- eventually.

It seems that the major difference between science and pseudosciences is where you begin. If you begin with an hypothesis and then explain away evidence that shows your hypothesis to be full of hocus-pocus, it's not science. If other people can't duplicate your results, it's not science. If your hypothesis can't be falsified, it's not science.

I recommend these books for anyone wanting to indulge in a bit of light reading on the subject of The Silly Stuff People Believe and Why They Believe it.

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